Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Sep, 16, 2019

[op-ed snap] Let the farmer choose


Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) has received an endorsement from the NITI Aayog, FM and the PM. 

Challenges with ZBNF

  • India’s premier academy of agricultural scientists came out against this “unproven technology”.
  • They say that it brings no incremental gain to either farmers or consumers. 
  • Since the mid-1960s, India’s annual foodgrain output has risen from 80-85 million tonnes (mt) to 280 mt-plus. It has risen from 20 mt to 176 mt for milk and by similar magnitudes in vegetables, fruits, poultry meat, eggs, sugarcane, and cotton. 
  • A significant part of these increases have come from crossbreeding or improved varieties/hybrids responsive to chemical fertiliser application, and crop protection chemicals to ensure that the resultant genetic yield gains aren’t eaten away by insects, fungi or weeds. 
  • Without IR-8 rice, urea, chlorpyrifos or artificial insemination, the nation would simply not have been able to feed itself.
  • The basic idea of “zero budget” itself rests on very shaky scientific foundations. Agriculture can never be zero budget. 
  • Its propounder claims that nitrogen, the most important nutrient for plant growth, is available “free” from the air. But being in a non-reactive diatomic (N2) state, it has to be first “fixed” into a plant-usable form — which is what ammonia or urea is. 
  • Even maintaining indigenous cows and collecting their dung and urine in microbial, seed treatment and insect pest management solutions — entails labor cost. 
  • Crop yields cannot go up beyond a point with just cow dung that has only around 3% nitrogen (as against 46%t in urea), 2% phosphorous (46% in di-ammonium phosphate) and 1% potassium (60% in muriate of potash).

What should be done

  • Promoting techniques such as conservation tillage, trash mulching, green manuring and vermicomposting.
  • Reducing the use of chemical fertilisers and insecticides through integrated nutrient and pest management. 
  • Eliminating fertiliser subsidies to encourage their judicious use. 
  • Give farmers a fixed sum of money per acre, which they can use to buy chemical-based inputs or to engage the extra labour necessary for organic agricultural practices.


Let the farmer choose between non-organic, organic or even ZBNF.



Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)

Oct, 15, 2018

Sikkim's 100% organic farming wins FAO's Future Policy Gold Award


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Sikkim Organic Mission

Mains level: Significance of the international recognition in promotion of organic farming practice  at pan-India level.



  • Sikkim has won the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Future Policy Gold Award for its achievement in becoming the world’s first totally organic agriculture state.

Aim of the Award

  1. The Future Policy Award celebrates policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations.
  2. The aim of the award is to raise global awareness for these exemplary policies and speed up policy action towards just, sustainable and peaceful societies.
  3. The Future Policy Award is the first award that celebrates policies rather than people on an international level.

Sikkim bags 2018 Award

  1. Nicknamed the “Oscar for best policies”, the award is co-organised with the FAO by The World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM – Organics International.
  2. The award recognizes the world’s best laws and policies promoting agroecology.
  3. Sikkim beat out 51 other nominees from around the world for the award.
  4. Brazil, Denmark, Quito and Ecuador shared the Silver award.
  5. Sikkim is the first organic state in the world and all of its farmland is certified organic, reads the award announcement.
  6. The state has totally banned the sale and use of chemical pesticides.

About Sikkim Organic Mission

  1. Starting with a political commitment to support organic farming in 2003, Sikkim designed in 2010 the Sikkim Organic Mission.
  2. It is a road map that clearly detailed all the measures necessary to achieve the target of becoming a fully organic state by 2015.
  3. At the time, officials reasoned that per hectare consumption of fertilizers in Sikkim was already among the lowest in the country (at 5.8 kg per hectare).
  4. Farmers had also traditionally never used chemicals in the cultivation of cardamom, one of Sikkim’s main cash crops.
  5. From 2003, the state began reducing the subsidy on chemical pesticides and fertilizers by 10 per cent every year and banned them completely in 2014.
  6. Their sale and use was made punishable by law with an imprisonment of up to three months or a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh or both.

Roadmap of Sikkim’s transition to 100% organic state:


World Future Council

  1. The World Future Council (WFC) is an independent body formally founded in Hamburg, Germany on 10 May 2007.
  2. Formed to speak on behalf of policy solutions that serve the interests of future generations, it includes members active in governmental bodies, civil society, business, science and the arts.
  3. The WFC’s primary focus has been climate security, promoting laws such as the renewable energy Feed-in tariff.
  4. The WFC has special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council  (UN-ECOSOC).
Jun, 22, 2018

[op-ed snap] The seeds of sustainability


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Zero Budget Natural Farming

Mains level: ZBNF and its advantages


Andhra, first to implement ZBNF Policy

  1. Andhra Pradesh will fully embrace Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), a chemical-free method that would cover all farmers by 2024.
  2. Even though this revolution has been in the works for several years, this is still a momentous occasion and highlights the way to improve the welfare of farmers, reduce the cost of farm inputs, cut toxins in food, and improve soils.
  3. By 2021-22, the programme is to be implemented in every panchayat, with full coverage by 2024.
  4. More encouraging is that the programme is having a positive effect on many of the sustainable development goals through improvements in soil, biodiversity, livelihoods, water, reduction in chemicals, climate resilience, health, women’s empowerment and nutrition.

Natural farming

  1. Natural farming is “do nothing farming”
  2. It promotes no-till, no chemical use in farming along with the dispersal of clay seed balls to propagate plants.
  3. It is important to apply nature’s principles in farming and developed a deep-rooted philosophy around the process.

Zero Budget Natural Farming

  1. Subhash Palekar, a farmer in the distressed Vidarbha region developed the ZBNF.
  2. He identified some aspects that are now integral to his process and which require locally available materials:
  • seeds treated with cow dung and urine;
  • soil rejuvenated with cow dung,
  • cow urine and other local materials to increase microbes;
  • cover crops, straw and other organic matter to retain soil moisture and build humus;
  • and soil aeration for favorable soil conditions.

These methods are combined with natural insect management methods when required.

 Benefits of ZBNF

  1. In ZBNF, yields of various cash and food crops have been found to be significantly higher when compared with chemical farming.
  2. Input costs are near zero as no fertilizers and pesticides are used.
  3. Profits in most areas under ZBNF were from higher yield and lower inputs.
  4. Model ZBNF farms were able to withstand drought and flooding, which are big concerns with regard to climate change.
  5. The planting of multiple crops and border crops on the same field has provided varied income and nutrient sources.
  6. As a result of these changes, there is reduced use of water and electricity, improved health of farmers, flourishing of local ecosystems and biodiversity and no toxic chemical residues in the environment.

Model for other States

  1. Andhra Pradesh is one of the top five States in terms of farmer suicides.
  2. The changes taking place in AP are a systematic scaling up of farming practices based on agro-ecological principles in opposition to the dominant chemical agriculture.
  3. Changes at this scale require many different elements to come together, but open-minded enlightened political leaders and administrators are fundamental.
  4. As ZBNF is applied in India’s various agro-ecological zones, making farmers the innovators is essential.
  5. Resilient food systems are the need of the day given the variability of the monsoons due to global warming and declining groundwater in large parts of India.
  6. The drought-prone Rayalaseema region (Andhra Pradesh) is reportedly seeing promising changes already in farms with the ZBNF.

The Way Forward- Listen to our Farmers

  1. ZBNF is a technology of the future with a traditional idiom.
  2. Agricultural scientists in India have to rework their entire strategy so that farming is in consonance with nature.
  3. The dominant paradigm of chemical-based agriculture has failed and regenerative agriculture is the emerging new science.
  4. The world is at critical junctures on many planetary boundaries, and establishing a system that shows promise in improving them while supporting people sustainably is surely one worth pursuing.
Apr, 10, 2018

Narendra Modi govt planning to support ‘yogik’, ‘gou mata’ farming


Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Vedic systems of farming and important Vedic texts, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana

Mains level: Organic farming and its advantages


Promoting obscure methods of cultivation

  1. The agriculture ministry plans to offer cash incentives to farmers who take up ‘yogik’ farming, ‘gou Mata kheti’ and ‘rishi krishi’
  2. According to revised guidelines of the center’s flagship scheme to promote organic farming, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), farmers will be eligible for an assistance for a three-year period for adopting these traditional methods of cultivation

Traditional farming promotion

  1. Farmers practicing traditional methods of organic farming like yogik farming, gou mata kheti, Vedic farming, Vaishnav kheti, Ahinsa farming, Adhvoot Shivanand farming, and rishi krishi will be eligible for financial assistance
  2. This will be in addition to those adopting standard organic farming practices like zero-budget natural farming and permaculture

Vedic systems of farming

  1. Rishi krishi is based on pre-Vedic, Vedic and medieval texts like Vishvavallava, Kashyapiyakrishisukti, and Surapala’s Vrikshayurveda
  2. Gou mata kheti is a system of farming which uses cow dung and urine from indigenous breeds of lactating cows


Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)

  1. Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana is an elaborated component of Soil Health Management (SHM) of major project National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)
  2. Under PKVY Organic farming is promoted through the adoption of the organic village by cluster approach and PGS certification
  3. Groups of farmers would be motivated to take up organic farming under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)
  4. Fifty or more farmers will form a cluster having 50-acre land to take up the organic farming under the scheme
  5. The produce will be pesticide residue free and will contribute to improving the health of the consumer
Oct, 18, 2016

[op-ed snap] Hunger solutions from the soil

  1. Theme: The dependence of food security on agricultural soils.
  2. According to the IPCC, reduction in the quality of soil, compounded by climate change, will lead to a worldwide decline in agricultural production, thereby threatening food security and stability of food prices.
  3. The climate, soil and agricultural production continuum: Agricultural soils are among the largest reservoirs of carbon and hold the potential for extensive carbon sequestration but increased temperature can lead to the soils releasing carbon and enhance the carbon concentration in the atmosphere.
  4. Rising levels of atmospheric carbon can influence the growth and productivity of agricultural crops.
  5. Decreased soil quality, due to loss of soil organic matter, will affect essential soil properties, including nutrient availability, soil structure, water-holding capacity and erosion capacity.
  6. Role played by FAO: FAO encourages restoring of degraded soils, sustainable management of land and water resources and adoption of sustainable agricultural practices tailored to local contexts.
  7. FAO promotes agricultural systems and agro-ecological practices that nurture soil biodiversity e.g. organic farming, zero-tillage, crop rotations and conservation agriculture.
  8. Recent initiatives: The Soil Health Card scheme of the government has reached out to approximately 30 million farmers to improve agricultural productivity and soil health.
  9. FAO, in partnership with the GoI, has undertaken projects in seven drought-prone districts of Andhra Pradesh on groundwater conservation for improved crop production.
  10. FAO is also collaborating with the Union ministries for agriculture and environment on a green agriculture project, focusing on eco-restoration of one million hectares of degraded land; self-replication through sustainable business models and conserving keystone species in project states—Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
  11. The way ahead: Strategies on agricultural production should focus on sustainable production, enhanced natural resource management, reduced soil emissions, and mitigating the risks of climate change.
Apr, 27, 2016

Push for disease-resistant organic fruits

  1. Context: To promote organic cultivation in India
  2. Focus: Developing disease resistant varieties that can be grown without pesticides
  3. ‘Fruit breeding in tropics and sub-tropics- an Indian perspective’ is a symposium jointly organized by Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR)
  4. Aim: To deliberate issues related to development of disease resistant varieties of fruits and plants
  5. It would also look at conservation of indigenous fruit varieties
Jan, 27, 2016

‘Organic tag to boost Sikkim’s cardamom exports’

Organically-grown large cardamom may be priced higher than its fertiliser-fed counterpart but the former has burgeoning premium-class consumers abroad.


  1. The global demand for large cardamom grown in India is expected to rise with Sikkim, which produces a chunk of this highly-valued spice.
  2. The organically-raised large cardamom, initiative under Make in India mission, aims to make the country a global hub of indigenously-developed products.
  3. Sikkim, which grows large cardamom in 17,000 hectares of land, produces 4,000 metric tonnes (90 per cent of the country’s production) of the spice annually.
  4. Spices Board has a team of 50-odd employees working in Sikkim to not just sustain organic farming but empower the growers to earn more from their produce.
  5. The Spices Board is set to unveil an e-platform for its famed fortnightly auction in Sikkim’s traditional spice market of Singtam.
Jan, 20, 2016

Sikkim becomes the first fully organic state of India

  1. With a population of around 6 lakhs, the state also known as the Land of Flower, will now be known for its Organic initiative too.
  2. Over the years around 75000 hectares of land in the state has been converted into certified organic farms.
  3. Following the guidelines as prescribed by National Programme for Organic Production.
  4. Within 1.24 million tonnes of organic production in the country around 80000 million is supplied by Sikkim alone.
  5. With this, Sikkim now joins hands with the organic states of the foreign countries like California, Wisconsin among others.
Jan, 19, 2016

PM inaugurates Sikkim Organic Festival 2016

He addressed the Plenary Session of the National Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, at Gangtok in Sikkim.

  1. The Prime Minister recalled CoP-21 meeting in Paris, where the idea of “back to basics” had been raised forcefully.
  2. He said Sikkim has already achieved that feat of living in harmony with nature, and is therefore a model of development which also protects nature.
  3. The Prime Minister complimented Sikkim for Gangtok being rated as the 10th cleanest city in a survey conducted by the Government of India.
  4. The Prime Minister exhorted States to identify a district, or even a block, to convert to a 100 percent organic area.
  5. The Prime Minister suggested that a digital online platform of progressive farmers should be developed in each State.
  • Subscribe

    Do not miss important study material

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
0 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of